Those unexpected moments of day-making potential in the midst of winter’s doldrums keep us coming back for more. The classic scenario is a winter warm-up that stimulates bass to move around and chase bait.
Bassmaster Elite Series pro Dennis Tietje said you just have to be ready to take advantage of these periods.
“You always want to keep a small ¼-ounce spinnerbait with willow leaf blades handy,” Tietje said. “You can burn it or fish it normally. I keep it small because that time of year most of the shad that die off are very small.”
A few other lures to keep within easy reach include:
• Hard-plastic topwaters — Walkers and poppers create a convincing ruse when bass run shad to the surface.
• Frog — Along with being an amphibian impersonator, the frog also imitates bluegill and other forage fish. Basically, when those warming trends put a heater in the fish’s back pocket, they’ll be on the lookout for munchable opportunities.
And few baits have the mesmerizing power of a frog.
• Soft-plastic stickbaits – Senkos, YUM Dingers, Strike King Ochos and other similar lures cast well in a winter wind, but their diversity is the real attraction.
Rig them weightless Texas-style, pair them with a shaky head jig or fish them on a Carolina rig to ring the dinner bell.